Heavily influenced by religion, Russian architecture has changed and developed immensely over the years. However, there are some features that are common throughout the mammoth spread of land, including onion-shaped domes, as well as tent-shaped spires, and sharp sloping roofs. Below, we are going to take a look at Russian architecture throughout some of the key periods in history.
Let’s begin with the Early Muscovite period, which is from 1230 to 1530. Some of the most notable buildings from this time include The Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow, Tsarevich Dmitry palace in Uglich, and the Old English Court – headquarters of English Muscovy Company. The architecture here tells a story of the country’s prosperity (or lack of it) at the time. The Mongols had looted the country so thoroughly at the start of this period, which meant that even capitals, such as Tver and Moscow, were unable to afford new stone churches for more than 50 years. Dozens of medieval churches have been preserved in the likes of Pskov and Novgorod, though, as these areas escaped the yoke. They are roughly carved and steep-roofed. Towards the end of this period, Muscovy had become such a powerful state, which meant that multi-domed and magnificent buildings were erected. They replicated ancient Vladimir structures in three big cathedrals in the Moscow Kremlin, and Italian Renaissance motifs were used for decoration.
One of the most significant periods in Russian architecture is from 1530 until 1630, which is the Middle Muscovite period. This is when buildings such as the Smolensk Cathedral of Novodevichy convent and Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square were built. The latter is an exceptional example of the popular tented churches from this period, boasting intricate designs and exotic colours and shapes.
Finally, we have the period from 1630 until 1712, which is the Late Muscovite period. This is when a lot of big cathedral-type churches were built, which were surrounded by five onion-like cupolas. The Amusement Palace was also built during this period, in 1652 to be precise. This bright pink building is an exceptional example of architecture from this period.
All in all, there is no denying that Russian architecture is some of the most impressive and unique in the world. From the dome-like structures to the sharp-sloping roofs, the buildings here are distinctive, to say the least.